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How to set up smart home security

Adam_W
Valued Contributor

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Home security was once the domain of specialists with complex systems. Today many areas of home security are simple D.I.Y. tasks.

 

Better still, home system systems can be very affordable and extremely flexible. For example, it can take just 10 minutes to install a low-cost, high-definition video camera that you can monitor from almost anywhere in the world. 

 

Here’s our guide how to set up smart security for your home. If you need a hand with improving the security at your place, please let us know. 

 

What is smart security? 
 

You can easily monitor cameras and change settings via an app on your smartphoneYou can easily monitor cameras and change settings via an app on your smartphoneNew smart devices enable home and business owners to create simple, inexpensive D.I.Y. security solutions tailored to their needs. 

  

Smart devices contain what is effectively a micro-computer. They connect to your Wi-Fi or cabled home network and the internet, and they can also network with other smart devices.  

 

You can monitor and control these devices via an app on your smart phone or tablet, or via a web browser. This can allow you to do things like lock or unlock doors remotely or watch a video feed from a security camera.  

 

Some devices are capable of a range of functions, such as alerting you to activity or operating at certain times or in certain ways. When a camera detects movement, for instance, it can instantly send you an alert allowing you to monitor or record activity or even have a two-way conversation with a person at your front door. 

 

Smart security cameras 

 

Smart security cameras can be purchased and used individually or as part of a multiple-camera set-up. They may be connected by Wi-Fi or cable or a mix of both. All will allow remote monitoring and recording. Recording may be saved to the cloud, on a system hub, to a memory card inserted into the camera itself, or on your smartphone. 

 

If you need multiple cameras you can buy a complete system with dedicated hard drive storageIf you need multiple cameras you can buy a complete system with dedicated hard drive storageMost smart security cameras will have night-vison capabilities, with some also having two-way intercom functions (smart doorbells with cameras can function as video intercom systems too). 

 

Most cameras will be fixed in position when you install them, though more advanced cameras will have tilt and pan functions allowing you to remotely change the viewing angle.  

 

Keep in mind how your cameras are going to be powered. Cameras that run on mains power will need to be close to a power point. Others run on replaceable or rechargeable batteries. Some can have a small solar panel connected to keep rechargeable batteries charged, which is ideal for harder-to-reach spots. 
 

There are cameras designed for indoor or outdoor use, so ensure you get the right product for your needs. And remember if you need a lot of cameras you’ll probably be better off buying a complete system.

   

Smart door locks 

 

The Grid Connect Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt has a standard lock size to easily upgrade existing deadboltsThe Grid Connect Smart Wi-Fi Deadbolt has a standard lock size to easily upgrade existing deadboltsMost smart door locks can be retrofitted to existing doors without the need for extra holes. All of them still allow you to use a key in case of a power or connectivity outage.  

 

There is enormous range of functionality across different products. Some use keypads for pin entry, some use fingerprint ID, and some use basic proximity activation – the lock opens when you hold your smartphone or other device near it. There are also smart padlocks for a range of applications. 

 

The level of network functionality varies from product to product, so it’s important to do your research to ensure that your locks can do everything you want. 

 

Smart lights 

 

These days you no longer have to attach mechanical timers to lamps to turn them on and off when you’re away.  

 

Now you can add smart globes to existing fittings or install smart fittings, such as LED downlights. These can all be individually controlled or grouped to function together. 

 

Smart lights can be wirelessly grouped together to respond to voice commands and timer functionsSmart lights can be wirelessly grouped together to respond to voice commands and timer functionsThis useful on a day-to-day basis, and very handy when you are away as you can set lights to turn on and off to mimic your normal routine. Lights can also be set up with geofencing so that they will turn on as you arrive home. 

 

You can also set up lights to come on in groups at the touch of a button in the app or with a voice command. You might group lights together in a “Security” cluster so that in the event of a security scare all external and internal lights turn on together.  

 

There are smart floodlights, garden lights and landscape lights for outdoor areas, too.  

 

You can also turn standard lights and appliances into smart ones by adding smart plugs to wall outlets or having an electrician add in-line smart switches and power points. This way you can even have your TV or hi-fi turn on while you are away from home as part of your daily security pattern.

 

 

Geofencing 
 

Geofencing is an invisible set-up that that triggers your smart security devices to act in pre-programmed ways when you (ie, your smartphone or device with the necessary app installed) enters a designated area.  

 

Examples of this could be your garage door or front gate opening as your car approaches, the lights in your home turning on as you approach and off as you depart, and your front door unlocking as you come near it. 

 

You set up the geofencing and the smart device behaviour through the app for your devices. Be aware that most geofencing relies on a high-quality mobile phone signal, so if you have poor reception in your area it may not function well. 

 

Device ecosystems 
 

Smart security devices communicate within an “ecosystem” in which various devices are accessed, set up, controlled and monitored through one app or web interface. 

 

In some cases products of a certain brand will only work with each other. In others they are more open. A good example of an open system are products within the Grid Connect family, which includes a various brands and product categories covering everything from security cameras to lighting and window blind controls.  

 

The system hub 
 

The Philips Hue smart lighting system uses a Wi-Fi hub with a cabled internet connectionThe Philips Hue smart lighting system uses a Wi-Fi hub with a cabled internet connectionEvery smart security device system has a hub – a central point of operation that networks and manages the devices and system. There are a few different kinds:  

 

  • Software hub – this is where all devices are controlled and connected solely through an app, such as the Grid Connect system.

 

  • Wireless hub – all devices are still managed through an app but they have to be connected via a Wi-Fi hub. This sort of hub will likely be connected to your modem/router by ethernet or LAN cable. The Philips Hue smart lighting system is one example. 
     
  • Wired hub – these are typically only found in more elaborate multi-camera systems with all cameras connected by cables. The hub will generally have an onboard hard drive for storing captured video footage and can be accessed through your computer or smart phone. 

 

Controlling and accessing your devices 
 

In most cases you’ll use the app for your security ecosystem to add and monitor devices and adjust settings and timers. You can do this from anywhere that your phone can connect to the internet. 

 

If you’re unexpectedly away for the night you could turn on your “away from home” automation on your smart lights to make it appear that someone is at home. 

 
Many devices can also be controlled through voice assistants or added to operating system features such as Apple’s Home app.

 

Help with selecting products and setting up your smart home security system

 

The Bunnings Workshop community is here to help if you need a hand selecting the right home security products for your home, or with setting them up to ensure your home is more secure. Just hit the Start a discussion button and let us know how we can assist.  

 

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